When we create resources at Igniter Media, our team tries to do our very best work on each project. The simple fact is that everything we do benefits from a collaborative process, as opposed to the efforts of a lone ranger. But not all collaboration is created equal. After years of working together on countless projects, we’ve identified a few tips that make for more effective collaborations in creative work.
1) Everyone’s Input is Valuable
We don’t form committees for each video — there is a final say, but just about everybody gets a look at a project so each person can offer their perspective and opinion if they would like. It is not, however, as important to implement everyone’s suggestions as it is to hear what everyone has to say. For instance, someone in an administrative role comes from a unique perspective and can sometimes catch things that might bother Joe Churchgoer — things that the video producers might have missed.
2) Egos Have to Go
We certainly think it’s okay to fight for something you think is right, such as a piece of music or a particular scene take. However, when the person in charge of a project steps back and releases his or her dictatorship to the whole team, it keeps pride in check. Being able to let go and let others critique the work without fear of hurting feelings builds a positive environment. This humility usually results in a better video!
3) Constructive Criticism
If the person who is responsible for the project has opened himself or herself up to the criticism, make sure you criticize in a way that will benefit the project. This isn’t the time to make your boss see that he should have given you the project instead of giving it to your coworker. Your job is to make your coworker and the work look good, so focus your thoughts on what can help move the project forward.
4) Solutions– Not just Problems
In every aspect of work — and in life — identifying a problem is merely doing things halfway. Not all problems have immediate solutions, but making a concerted effort to offer a solution is always better than just poking holes in something.
5) Offer Your Services
You might be better at something than others in your office whether it’s writing copy, shooting video, or writing expressions in After Effects. If you realize you can solve a problem with your skills, offer yourself to the project! Of course, you’ll have to consider your current workload, but don’t leave your team to solve their own problems if you can help.
One of the most edifying parts of my job is using my specialized skills to help out my coworkers. But I have also been blessed with coworkers who are great designers, colorists, and audiophiles. When I’m the one who is responsible for a project, I involve anyone who can make the end result better. That presents me, our team, our company, and the God we serve in the best possible light.
6) Learn from Each Other
Whether it’s changing your workflow, learning a piece of equipment, or teaching each other keyboard shortcuts, learn all you can from your coworkers and teach them all you know. Sharing this knowledge will improve efficiency and increase each other’s skills. Eventually, your team’s expanded knowledge base and skill sets will manifest itself in better work!
The exciting part is that when everyone is comfortable with these few things, effective collaboration will just happen. Thoughts will flow naturally and everyone will benefit from the ideas and solutions that push each project to new creative heights.